Out on the beach in the summer

I hadn’t been out on the beach for a long walk all summer. In late July, I headed out for a walk to get some fresh air and hopefully a cool breeze coming off the gulf. My main reason for going though was to look for skimmer babies. I hadn’t been out to see them in 2 years.  I saw the above as I started my walk.

After a while I saw some skimmers soaring over the beach and finally made it to the skimmer nesting area.

The black skimmers nest right on the beach and there were a lot of babies at all different ages.

The baby skimmers have a tough time growing up. Besides sibling rivalry, there are so many other dangers. Gulls and crows will fly in and snatch the tiny ones if the parents aren’t guarding them. The beaches are full of tourist and the baby skimmers blend into the sand. They could get stepped on. Kids like to chase the birds and make them fly off which leaves the babies exposed. A really bad storm could flood the beach and the babies can’t fly off or swim yet. So many hurdles.

The view from the water. There are a group of volunteer bird stewards that rope off the nesting areas to keep people from stepping on the babies. They guard the area during the busy times and answer any questions that curious tourists may have about the skimmers. And yes, those are volleyball nets in the back so the babies could also get knocked out by a stray volleyball. I took a ton of pictures in the hour I was there so more to come on these cuties.

One last look at the summer baby skimmers

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This little skimmer was just figuring out what those wings and beak were for.

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There were still a few babies that hadn’t not made it to the shoreline yet. They were still sticking close to mom.

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This skimmer was missing a foot.

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A few adults were taking a bath.

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This young one was just starting to fly.

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Right next to the skimmers, this guy caught this fish.

Now all the baby skimmers are grown up and gone. Off to conquer the world!

Arguing over a little fish

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Back in late July, I was able to stop by the black skimmer nesting site after work. The sun was out and it was a beautiful night. I got there just in time for dinner. Adult skimmers were flying back and forth with fish for the babies. Many of the siblings were fighting over who got the fish. It’s amazing how those fish can fit in those tiny stomachs. Made me want to head home for dinner.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Fuzzballs being fed fish

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There’s something about these little balls of fuzz that are so adorable. They’re only a few days to a week old and they try to act brave and walk around. Then something spooks them and they go running back under mom. The black skimmers have been nesting here for a long time. I’m not sure how many years but I’ve stopped by to take a peek at the babies since 2009. In 2012, tropical thunderstorm Debby wiped out most of the babies due to flooding. It was sad summer that year. The next year the skimmers were back with a bang. Tons of babies since then.  And, tons of pictures this year again. More to come of these cuties.

More baby skimmers

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Yes, more baby skimmer pictures. I went back to the beach in mid-July to see how grown the babies were after my first trip 3 weeks earlier. The babies in the pictures I posted last week were almost grown up. They weren’t quite flying yet but they were trying hard. They were skipping around and getting off the ground a little. There were also still many more babies just born. I got there around 6pm after work and stayed until after 7:30. Dark clouds were rolling in so most of the babies were settling in for the night. I did get a few of the older babies that I’ll post later.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Another trip to visit the skimmer class of 2013

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“This sign is about me.”

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“This is a comfy hole.”

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“Soon I’ll be flying.”

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“I’m the oldest.”

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A parent skimming for fish.

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I don’t know what they were chasing each other over but this is a common sight over the skimmer colony.

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High up in the air they were yelling at each other.

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A view from the back of the roped off area. As the babies get older, the skimmers start to spread out. Many of the families now hang out between the roped area and the water.

This was late July. I thought this would be my last visit to the skimmers but I ended up back there on a Sunday morning in early August to see if I could catch any of the babies flying. I was able to catch two flying so I’ll post those later.